May Gardening 2016

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

Spring has arrived on Fishers Island! The magnolia and cherry trees are all in full bloom and the shad is about to follow. Flower beds are being cleaned up and perennials and some hardier annuals will be safe to plant after the full moon on the 21st. Cool weather vegetables like peas, lettuce and spinach can be planted, but the squash family and tomatoes should wait until Memorial Day or early June. All new plantings need to be well protected from the wind, which blows over the cold water. It is quite opposite in the fall when the warm water works as an insulator and some plants thrive well into November.


Race Rock has a beautiful new outside retail space – built by JR Edwards and Mike George this winter – which is awaiting the first delivery of plants next week before Mother’s Day on May 8th. The delivery will include perennials and some hardier annuals. The more tender annuals, vegetables, and herbs will be available for sale on Memorial Day weekend.


Also, on Saturday, May 28th of Memorial Day weekend, the Union Chapel will have native plants for sale that have been grown by the Union Chapel Church School. Jeff Edwards helped the children plant Butterfly Weed, Joe Pye Weed, Milkweed, Asters and Lupine seeds in small pots this winter. The plants have matured in his greenhouse and are ready to be sold. So stop by the Fair and buy some to put in your garden. All of these wonderful plants will attract butterflies and beneficial insects to your property. Find out more HERE.


Last month, I wrote about sending a soil sample from my vegetable garden to the University of Connecticut Department of Plant Science. This week, I received the report back and it stated that my garden was “above optimum” in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, but it was “low optimum” in potassium. In researching how to add potassium in an organic way to the soil, I found that lemon and orange rinds and banana peels were high in potassium and could be buried around plants to bring the potassium levels up. I could just imagine the creatures that might find that practice attractive and would dig the peels up instantly. So, I thought I might collect the rinds and peel and cut them all up in the Cuisinart. I think the mixture might become less attractive to invading creatures and will decompose more quickly for the plants to absorb. I will try this experiment this summer and report back. Or I could up the potassium levels the easy way and buy a potash fertilizer 0/0/30 and forget the home remedy, but it wouldn’t be quite as organic and interesting to try.


Another thing mentioned, in the report was that “Fishers Island has been flagged by the USDA APHIS for golden nematodes. If you send future soil samples, there is a $20.00/sample destruction fee in addition to the charge of the nutrient analysis”. I had never heard this before and looked up golden nematodes and found that they are prevalent in potato farms. To my knowledge, we don’t have any potato farms on the Island, and golden nematodes have not been found here. But Eastern Long Island is still full of potato farms or the remains of them and Fishers Island is part of Suffolk County, Long Island. It seemed obvious to me that “our red golden nematode flag” was just one more thing that the island must suffer with our weird governmental attachment to Long Island.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program and the accompanying Fog Horn eNewsletter serve as the communications resource for the Fishers Island community. The content – news, calendar, links and photos, milestones, ads, and more create a clear image of Fishers to those on and off the island.

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